Aerial view of a muslim woman wearing a hijab sitting at a wooden table working on a laptop with a mobile phone next to her

Digital British Islam

Funder

Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC)

Value to Coventry University

£270,000

Total Value of Project

£804,117

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Project Team

  • Professor Gary Bunt (PI), Professor of Islamic Studies, University of Wales, Trinity Saint David
  • Professor Frédéric Volpi (PI), Professor, Islamic and Middle Eastern Studies, University of Edinburgh
  • Professor Sariya Cheruvallil-Contractor (Co-I), Professor, Centre for Trust, Peace and Social Relations, Coventry University
  • Dr Sadek Hamid (RF), University of Wales, Trinity Saint David
  • Dr Khadijah Elshayyal (RF), University of Edinburgh
  • Dr Muhammed Alamgir Ahmed (PDRF), Centre for Trust, Peace and Social Relations, Coventry University
  • Dr Laura Jones (PDRF), University of Wales, Trinity Saint David

Duration

May 2022 — April 2025


Project overview

This research project will push the boundaries of existing research on digital religion. It will map and interrogate the impact of Cyber Islamic Environment (CIE) exchanges on everyday life. Situated within the sociological study of online religion, this research will unravel and demystify the layered and multifaceted reciprocal impact of CIEs on Muslim societies and Islam in Britain. This exploration is hinged on three themes, as areas within which to map intergenerational and digitally-enabled transformations: religious authority; gender; and political agency. Understanding digital influences on Muslim communities in Britain is imperative for organisations, service providers, and policy makers who work with diverse British Muslim communities, and who engage with these communities using digital means.

Project objectives

The project will answer the following questions:

  1. How do diverse Muslims in Britain (age, gender, ethnicity, religious identity, level of religiosity, socio-economic position, and geographical location) utilise CIEs?
  2. What CIEs are used by diverse Muslims in Britain and why? How are these underpinned by transnational and identity considerations?
  3. What socio-religious hierarchies have been dismantled and what new socio-religious hierarchies have emerged as a result of CIEs in Britain in relation to the project themes (religious authority, gender, and political agency), and how does this vary across and within diverse Muslim societies in Britain?
  4. What research, policy, and social implications are associated with a growing Muslim digital presence in Britain?

Impact statement

The research engages with the social impacts of digital technologies on Muslim beliefs and organisations in Britain and provides a framework for interpretation of key drivers and influences on Muslim societies in Britain. Through the evidence base it produces, Digital British Islam will provide clear and concise understanding of the dynamics, politics, and social ramifications of CIEs to the following research users: (i) Muslim organisations and communities, through findings that inform their digital strategies; (ii) policy makers, through findings relevant to areas of policy-interest in relation to Muslims in Britain; (iii) public and third sector organisations that engage with Muslim communities in Britain, through findings that enable them to better reach, access, and engage diverse Muslim communities; and (iv) academia.

Outputs

This project will have the following outputs: (i) four journal articles; (ii) a co-authored monograph; (iii) an academic conference; (iv) a MOOC; (v) conference presentations; and (vi) a curated archive and dataset

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